FitBit Sense 2: A Guide To The Workout Watch

Fitbit has been a leading fitness and health wearable industry brand for years. In 2019, Google acquired Fitbit and announced that the brand would release a Wear OS watch, finalized in 2021. However, the latest smartwatch from Fitbit, the Fitbit Sense 2, does not run Wear OS but instead uses a refreshed version of Fitbit OS. We typically prefer a smartwatch with an extensive app catalog compatible with our smartphone for a complete experience. Nevertheless, the Sense 2 is a compelling device with similar features to a Wear OS device, including dedicated fitness functionalities, a sizable community of Fitbit users, and superior battery life.

FITBIT SENSE 2

Fitbit Sense is a smartwatch that helps users manage their fitness and health with heart rate monitoring, sleep tracking, and stress management tools. It has a built-in GPS, is water-resistant, and integrates with the Fitbit app.

Design 

The Fitbit Sense 2 has been redesigned in its second version to enhance the aesthetics of the wearable and remain competitive among the top fitness trackers in the market. The device features a more curvaceous case and replaces the capacitive button from the first edition with a physical button on the left side. Furthermore, the Sense 2’s case is made of aluminum as opposed to the original stainless steel material, reducing its weight and potentially its cost. However, despite this modification, the device’s price remains relatively high, and the case’s durability is somewhat compromised.

It boasts a sleek and inconspicuous design that ensures comfortable wearability for extended periods, even while tracking your sleep at night. It has two straps of different sizes, small and large, to accommodate varying wrist dimensions. The proprietary quick-release clips allow for easy attachment and detachment of the band to the Sense 2. Many replacement options are available from Fitbit and third-party vendors, providing users with ample choices.

Regarding the screen, the Fitbit Sense 2 features a vivid 1.58-inch AMOLED display that remains visible even in bright environments. It has a light sensor that automatically adjusts the brightness levels, although you can quickly make manual adjustments using the toggle. Upon examining the display, you’ll notice what appear to be antenna bands encircling it. These sensors allow us to take electrocardiogram (ECG) and electrodermal activity (EDA) readings. If you’re unfamiliar with the terms, an ECG test detects irregular heart rhythms and atrial fibrillation (AFib).

Meanwhile, an EDA scan monitors alterations in heart rate and electrodermal responses, which are minute electrical changes on your skin. This data enables you to observe how your body reacts during mindfulness sessions. Alongside heart rate, blood oxygen saturation, and variations in your skin’s surface temperature, these scans work in tandem to provide a more comprehensive understanding of your overall health.

Performance 

In terms of activity tracking, the Fitbit Sense 2 delivers impressive results. It features extensive workouts, including popular exercises like walking, running, and yoga, and more specialized workouts like Crossfit, Indoor Climbing, Kickboxing, and Paddleboarding. The range of options available is impressive.

During our use, we observed that the Fitbit Sense 2 was slightly sluggish in responding during the initial 10 minutes of High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) workouts. It displayed a lower heart rate than the Apple Watch Series 8 on our other wrist for approximately the first 7-8 minutes. However, after this initial period, the heart rate readings were nearly identical, with occasional differences of just a couple of beats per minute.

In our experience, the Fitbit Sense 2’s stress monitoring feature, which utilizes the cEDA sensor, was highly accurate. It frequently detected stress throughout our day, such as when we were attempting to meet a deadline, received a stressful message, or were hurrying to catch a train. What we appreciated most was that Sense 2 prompted us to acknowledge these moments and take action, whether engaging in a breathing session or reflecting on our feelings.

The Stress Score, which is accessible to Fitbit Premium subscribers, is a fantastic feature that we thoroughly enjoyed. Like the Sleep Score, it is rated out of 100 and comprises heart rate responsiveness, exertion balance, and sleep patterns. The higher the score, the less evidence of physical stress. It is necessary to wear the Sense 2 for a minimum of 14 hours each day and sleep for a minimum of three hours to obtain this score. Nonetheless, it is an invaluable metric to track, and we discovered that once we had the Sense 2 on our wrist, we only removed it to charge.

The Sense 2 provides much data, one of the device’s most significant advantages. Breathing rate, heart rate variability, resting heart rate, skin temperature, and oxygen saturation are all available, and trends for each may be viewed. However, unlike stress notifications, the Sense 2 will not notify you if trends in this additional data alter.

Battery life 

The battery life has a significant advantage over the Apple SE. It looks and runs like a smartwatch until the more advanced settings come into play. The battery will last much longer than one, in any case.

Fitbit states it will last around six days between charges; real-world use may vary depending on your use. Such as, if you are using the GPS feature for an hour run, it will usually take 10% off the charge level, but when it is counting steps, usually without running, the battery level will drop at a much lower rate, as you can imagine. 

Suppose you charge your watch once a week rather than once a day. Mostly all annoyances go away. But, If you keep the sense 2s always-on mode, you can expect the battery life to be roughly half to 2.5 – 3 days before you have to charge it again, which isn’t bad. 

Software 

The Fitbit Sense 2 still runs on Fitbit OS, but the latest version includes some Google apps like Wallet and Maps. However, as of the time of publication, Google Maps can only be used by those who pair the device with an Android phone, while iOS users will have to wait until Spring 2024!

The interface is similar to Wear OS watches, where a swipe down brings up quick toggles, swiping up shows notifications, and swiping left or suitable lets you view tiles for a quick look at your stats. Pressing the physical button will bring up the app list. Although it would be nice to have Google Assistant access, the device only has Amazon Alexa. The digital assistant can be accessed by opening the app or setting it to a long-press using the side button. A double press on the button will also bring up a shortcut to your favorite four apps.

Fitbit has always been excellent at fostering community among its users. With its long-standing popularity, plenty of people use these devices. Fitbit has capitalized on this by promoting competition and progress sharing in the app, enabling users to connect with friends and like-minded individuals to motivate each other towards achieving their goals. Through the Fitbit app, you can engage in weekly step goals, virtual fitness events, and much more just by wearing your Sense 2 and joining others in the Fitbit community.

Should I buy a Fitbit Sense 2? 

Buy it if: 

  • You want a watch that isn’t bulky.  
  • You want multi-day battery life. 
  • You want to be able to go on Google maps, Google wallet, and Amazon Alexa all from your wrist. 
  • You want to be in a community with the same fitness goals as you through the app. 

Dont buy if: 

  • You need a watch that will last more than a week between being charged. 
  • You want access to google maps now, and you use IOS. 
  • You use IOS and want to use it to reply to messages. 
  • You would like to have Google assistant on your wrist. 

Is it expensive? 

When it comes to smartwatches, the cost can be a significant factor for many people. Fitbit Sense 2 is priced at around £299 in the UK, which may seem expensive at first glance. However, considering its range of features may be worth the investment for those serious about their fitness and wellness journey. The watch price can vary depending on what website you use, but make sure it is official. 

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